[BANGKOK] Sony Pictures Entertainment is developing the Columbia Pictures studio name and films into a theme and water park in Thailand, just in time for a post-Covid rebound in tourism.
The company is working with attractions developer Amazon Falls to create the Columbia Pictures' Aquaverse, rebranding and expanding an existing Amazon Falls water park.
Additions will include characters from movies ranging from Ghostbusters to Jumanji to Hotel Transylvania. Rides and attractions at the 5.7-hectare park, which is being developed in Bangsaray, about 90 minutes from Bangkok, will begin to open in phases in October 2021, Sony said Tuesday.
The licensing partnership is a low-risk way for Tokyo-based Sony Corp to exploit popular characters from its library of movies and TV shows, which include megahits like Jumanji and Men in Black.
The company will work to create the park's attractions, but it will be fully funded by Amazon Falls, Jeffrey Godsick, an executive vice-president at Sony Pictures, said in an interview.
The October opening will let the company take part in an expected surge in tourism as pandemic-related travel restrictions let up.
"As soon as people in a country feel comfortable enough and safe enough to go out to movies or theme parks or any kind of entertainment experience, they are hungry to do so," Mr Godsick said.
Columbia Pictures' Aquaverse will feature attractions like the "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Swallow Falls River Adventure" and water-coaster rides based on Men in Black.
There's also the "Bad Boys Raceway" and the "Ghostbusters Supernatural Experience."
Thailand, which counts tourism among its most important industries, is shortening the mandatory isolation for foreigners in an effort to bring back visitors. The industry provided more than US$60 billion in revenue in 2019.